Various transport groups on Sunday pressed for the suspension of excise tax on petroleum products in anticipation of a huge hike in fuel prices this week, with diesel seen to go up by as much as P6 per liter.
This was as Trade Union Congress of the Philippines vice president Luis Corral warned a “perfect storm” was brewing amid increasing food and power prices, as well as rising unemployment and underemployment rates.
“For us in TUCP, there appears to be a perfect storm that’s brewing…People are unable to pay for rent, utilities, food, and ordinary healthcare needs,” he said.
“The attitude of the Marcos administration should not be business as usual. They should work doubly hard, triply hard, to find solutions and undertake consultations to address these concerns immediately,” Corral said.
Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP) president Ricardo Rebaño, for his part, said a three- to four-month suspension of fuel excise tax is necessary to ease the burden of soaring oil prices on drivers and transport operators.
He said it is a better choice than asking for another round of fare hike, which will pass the burden on commuters.
“We are asking for even just a few months of suspension of fuel excise tax until prices of petroleum stabilize so we can have a win-win solution,” he said.
Industry sources said the price per liter of diesel may increase by P6 up to P6.30 on Tuesday, while gasoline prices may go up by P1.10 to P1.40 per liter.
Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) national president Mody Floranda said aside from suspending the excise tax, the Oil Deregulation Law and TRAIN Law must be amended as well.
“The government needs to revise the provisions under the Oil Deregulation Law and the TRAIN Law—the expanded VAT and the excise tax on petroleum products – because we do not import petroleum products on a weekly or monthly basis,” Floranda said.
The Department of Finance earlier cautioned the Marcos administration against suspending the collection of excise tax on petroleum products, saying it was “not the most efficient approach to alleviating the conditions of affected sectors.”
Tuesday’s anticipated oil price hike will end five consecutive weeks of rollbacks.
OPEC+ announced a production cut of 2 million barrels per day starting next month to push up oil prices after its Oct. 5 meeting.
World oil prices dropped slightly above $80 per barrel from a high of $120 per barrel in the previous months due to global recession fears.
On Oct. 4, the oil companies cut the prices of gasoline by P0.40 per liter, diesel by P0.45 per liter, and kerosene by P0.85 a liter.
These resulted in the total year-to-date net increase of P14.45 per liter for gasoline, P28.95 per liter for diesel, and P23.25 per liter for kerosene.